Thousands of people crowded the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall for the 17th annual LGBT Pride Festival on Aug. 26, concluding a week-long celebration honoring the LBTGQ community.
Music, dance, and other wonderful antics helped make the festival extremely joyous event this year, even as dark clouds of national politics hover above. The event coincided with the final announcement by President Donald Trump that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military, a change the military has yet to implement.
“We want to fight hate with love,” said Eddie Baez, one of the festival’s organizers.
The annual August event has become one of the mainstays of the local community, drawing people not just from Jersey City but throughout the region. The festival featured people dressed in costumes, performers of every sort, jugglers, and acrobats, and a number of musical and dance performances.
The event has also become a visible sign of progress the LBTGQ community has made over the last 17 years since the fire Pride Festival was held.
Over the last decade and a half, the LGBT community has grown significantly in Hudson County, with Jersey City becoming a center for a number of cultural and other related activities.
Although violence against LGBT people locally has subsided significantly since the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, threats against their rights under a new administration is now a concern. The recent moves against the transgender community by the White House have Pride organizers refocusing the festival to highlight transgender people.
“We want to promote peace,” Baez said. “But we want to highlight transgender people.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.